The MVHS Ambassadors Club and the English Language Development department are partnering to bridge the gap between nonnative English speakers and the rest of the student body.
“Ambassadors is the club on campus that is tasked with creating an inclusive community on Mountain View’s campus… This year we decided that we did not want to only address the groups that are transitioning to Mountain View, we wanted to be active in reaching out to those groups who may feel disenfranchised and are already on campus,” said Ron Miasnik, Ambassadors club president.
When reached out to by the Ambassadors club, the ELD department confirmed the need for their students to be better integrated into the broader MVHS community, socially and academically. Kathryn Kemp, Ambassadors Public Relations Officer and now ELD liaison, volunteered to take on the job of planning the initiative, and is now working with the help of a task force of several other Ambassadors.
“The idea behind it is to expose ELD students to MVHS activities and encourage them to interact more with non-ELD students,” Lydia Zele, ELD coordinator, said. “It is about looking at the world in a different way and enriching everybody’s perspectives.”
The Ambassadors club currently plans to tackle the issue using three approaches. The first is a grouping program which will connect an Ambassador with an ELD student, or a few Ambassadors with a few students. From there, the groups will set up times to meet for lunch, exchange knowledge of school activities, and get to know each other. To match ELD students to Ambassadors, Kemp, and others on the ELD committee, created a questionnaire for ELD students to fill out in class regarding their interests, what language they speak most often, and where they are from, among others.
Secondly, Ambassadors will provide academic tutoring to ELD students. A spreadsheet will be shared with both Ambassadors and ELD students on which ELD students may ask for help, and Ambassadors who are available the soonest will contact them to set up a meeting. If more consistent help is needed, Ambassadors may visit ELD classrooms to tutor and aid in their growth as English speakers.
The third is general encouragement of both Ambassadors and ELD students to attend school events and step outside their comfort zones.
Mentoring and tutoring will begin as early as next week.
“It is still a budding venture,” Miasnik said. “Nothing is set in stone at this point and anything can be changed.”